her First and Fourteenth Amendment guaranties of freedom of association. Defendants have moved for summary judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 56. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, defendants' motion is granted.
At all times relevant to this action Griffin worked at the May School as a Board employee. During the same period Thomas was the principal at May School and was Griffin's direct line supervisor. For the 1984-85 school year and for 14 of the 16 prior years, Griffin had received a "superior" performance rating, the highest rating available to Board employees.
In March 1986 Griffin was injured in the course of her duties. That injury caused her to miss work for more than two months and also occasioned her filing of a workers' compensation claim with the Illinois Industrial Commission. At the end of the 1985-86 school year (after the filing of that claim), Thomas gave Griffin a reduction in her performance rating from "superior" to "excellent." Disappointed with the reduction in her rating, Griffin filed a grievance through the Chicago Teachers Union ("Union"). After having responded to the grievance, Thomas restored her "superior" rating in September 1986.
Within 24 hours of the time that Thomas was required to rescind the "excellent" evaluation, he reassigned Griffin to the position of classroom teaching assistant principal (in all prior years Griffin had served as an assistant principal without classroom responsibilities). In addition to that reassignment, Griffin claims Thomas harassed her in several other ways in retaliation for her having filed the grievance with Union. Because the parties' dispute as to the present motion for summary judgment involves only legal issues, there is no need for further detail as to Thomas' alleged retaliatory actions.
Freedom of Association
Defendants move for summary judgment on the sole ground that Griffin's conduct does not relate to a matter of public concern and therefore is not protected by the First Amendment.
To that end they rely on the basic principle articulated in Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 146, 75 L. Ed. 2d 708, 103 S. Ct. 1684 (1982):
When employee expression cannot fairly be considered as relating to any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community, government officials should enjoy wide latitude in managing their offices, without intrusive oversight by the judiciary in the name of the First Amendment.